Strategies to help ease the anxiety that often comes with aÂ company-wide relocation.
By Lisa Mendelsohn
For many employees, the thought of their companyÂ moving to a new location can be terrifying. So manyÂ questions race through their heads: What does thisÂ mean? Is my job in jeopardy? What about my family?Â My spouse? My kids? This is a very human and normalÂ reaction to such an announcement, and it happens moreÂ often than not. It boils down to human nature and theÂ fear of ambiguity. What can HR leaders do to mitigateÂ the worry and make the process of a company move lessÂ stressful for employees?
As a general rule, executive-level stakeholders often leadÂ group move initiatives within an organization. But it isÂ essential that HR leaders are a part of the move processÂ from the very beginning. What are some best practices toÂ consider?
1. Know and understand the workforce. Often,Â employee concerns are not top of mind of group moveÂ management leaders. But employee concerns are aÂ core competency of the HR function, and having a seatÂ at the table only reinforces this. Compensation andÂ benefits information are at HR leadersâ fingertips. ThisÂ information takes the numbers out of the group moveÂ strategy and replaces them with employee names andÂ demographics. With this information, HR will be ableÂ to bring valuable insights and considerations to theÂ management table, inviting stakeholders to think aboutÂ and evaluate important questions. These may include:Â Where do employees live? How many have families?Â How many are single? Who is critical to the success of theÂ organization? What positions can be recruited locally?
All of these questions can help frame how anÂ organization should approach its relocation package andÂ offering. Getting personal helps the leadership teamÂ understand the potentials or the risks dependent on thatÂ mix of the population. A proper up-front assessmentÂ of a companyâs actual and active population can shapeÂ and guide the strategy of a group move from the veryÂ beginning. This is first and foremost before embarkingÂ on the journey.
2. First impressions are everything. Just like a jobÂ interview, first impressions are everything when itÂ comes to group moves. The approach and delivery of theÂ communication is paramount to a successful execution. ItÂ can help put anxious employees at ease and answer manyÂ of the questions they may have. The moment a companyÂ announces itâs moving to a new city or state, the humanÂ brain tends to stop right there. Employees hit a wall andÂ canât move past it because theyâre blindsided. EverythingÂ thatâs said afterwards is just words because employeesÂ are thinking about concerns and uncertainty.
HR executives need to coordinate efforts withÂ communications and other leaders on how to best craftÂ the initial announcement of change. And often, oneÂ size does not fit all. Organizations may need to tailorÂ communications for different company roles and internalÂ stakeholders.
3. What’s the offer? Employees are clearly going to beÂ wondering about their future. The offering allows forÂ a fair assessment of how many employees will actuallyÂ make the move and how many employees will chooseÂ to leave the company. Itâs also fair to evaluate how aÂ company move affects things such as revenue-generatingÂ positions, the impact on the bottom line, and theÂ bearing on support functions, among others. All of theseÂ considerations then help with the delivery of the messageÂ and its effectiveness. Delivering a real message with aÂ transparent approach will foster visibility and the bestÂ chance at a positive acceptance rate.
Change is never easy, and a job relocation can beÂ extremely challenging and unnerving for employees.Â While a company move presents a challenge, itâs also anÂ opportunity for a new beginning and positive start.
When handling a company group move, HR leaders needÂ to have a voice when critical decisions are being madeÂ and planned. Assess the companyâs employee populationÂ to determine the best approach when communicatingÂ and developing the offers. Above all else, a well-thought-outÂ plan on how to communicate the move to employeesÂ is essential for a successful group move.
Lisa Mendelsohn is regional director, Americas for Crown Mobility.